Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Saturday, December 10, 2011

My thanks to CJB for the link to this paper.  (He posted it in a comment, so I am promoting it so that readers don't miss it.)

It ( is in French.  Google translate isn't too awful with French but it mangles it somewhat and I can't persuade it to translate the whole article.  When I have time, I will read it in French to try to catch the full sense of what they are suggesting. 

One central theme is that Akhenaten was survived by a King (Smenkhkare) and Queen (Meritaten) who had similar throne names and therefore were easily confused so it isn't possible to say which partner outlived his/her spouse to rule alone, although they lean as usual towards the Queen.  Smenkhare is seen as the occupant of KV55 and the son of Akhenaten, which is familiar territory.  Less usual is their belief, if I am reading it correctly, that Smenkhare was the brother of Tutankhamun.  That means the Amarna reliefs fail to show two sons of Pharaoh, but six daughters. 

The Younger Lady is identified as Sitamun but they pose the question that the wife of Smenkhare might actually not have been Meritaten the daughter of Akhenaten but the daughter of Smenkhare himself.   I need to re-read that section.

There is a lot more, with a lot of discussion of implications of the Amarna letters and foreign relations.  The paper cites a lot of references.  Since Google translate won't translate the second half for me, and skim reading something in French is a real stretch for me, I can't say too much more.  I will try to spend time to read it carefully when I have time to translate it fully.

My thanks again to CJB for what is an interesting and thought-provoking paper.


Anonymous said...

Many Thanks for highlighting the article. There is a lot to digest in it and even after several read throughs, I am not sure I have grasped all its implications. One aspect (of many) I noticed was the attempt to reconcile the surving excerpts from Manetho with what seems to be emerging. Some time ago, one of your correspondents doubted whether Manetho could be taken seriously: from this article, the answer would seem to be that it can.

Marianne Luban said...

Who wrote that paper? I stopped reading it at the point where the author stated that DNA has backed up the previous serological conclusion that both Smenkhkare and Tutankhamun were brothers, the sons of Amenhotep III by his daughter Sitamun. That's what it appears to me to say unless my French has gotten worse than it used to be! I get the impression that there is some lack of understanding here of what the DNA implies, although the other assertions in the paper seem well-informed. Except there is no mention of James Allen having separated Ankhkheperure Smenkhkare Djeserkheperu, a male, from Ankhetkheperure Neferneferuaten Mry-wa-n-ra, a female. This is despite the fact that the writer mentions Manetho's kinglist and points out that the first "Achencheres" is, indeed, a female, to be equated with Meritaten.

Marianne Luban said...

All of the following is on Page 10:

"Les analyses d'ADN n'ont fait que confirmer et completer les deductions tirees en ce domaine des analyses serologiques effectuees il y a plus de quarante ans. Une point nouveau et important est l'identification de la mere de Tutankhamon << the Young Lady>> de la tombe 55 qui n'est pas Nefertiti comme le pensait M. Gabolde mais sans doute la princesse Sitamon, fille d'Amenophis III et de Tiyi. Le pere de Smenkhkare et de Tutankhamon est Amenophis III ou un prince inconnu de la famille royale."

There it is--with all its errors. The Younger Lady was not found in KV55 but KV35. How the author can say that she is Sitamen "without a doubt" is beyond me. Unless something is missing from the 8 markers of Amenhotep III, he cannot be the father of Tutankhamun as the latter is diploid for 19/19 at the 6th locus, which A III does not have there. This I say from memory but I can check again. The last line says that the father of both those young men is either Amenhotep III or "an unknown prince of the royal family". But Tutankhamun is epigraphically the son of a king on a block found at Hermopolis and probably originally from El Amarna.

Patrick said...

There's certainly nothing wrong with your French, Marianne.
By the way, on the subject of a previous post on this topic, the evidence for KV60A being Hatshepsut is interesting, even compelling, but ultimately only circumstantial. There is also a lot against that identification. However, it cannot be ruled out...

Stephanie said...

The identification of the YL with Sitamun not only lacks hard evidence but it is a considerable stretch agewise too.
In the latest study the YL is given an age range from 25 to 35 years. Given that Elliot Smith stated her age as being under 25 and the team around Fletcher first assumed her to be as young 16 to 20 ( only to raise her age later to a more convenient 30), I think we should rather stick to the lower limit of about 25. As Sitamun was eldest daughter she was most probably born in the first decade of Amenhotep III`s reign. This would make her at least 28 at the end of her father`s reign and 38 to 40 at her son`s birth around year 10 to 12 of Akhenaten`s reign. She would have been even older if she lived on for some time.
This doesn`t fit the YL`s age range at all.

Anonymous said...

Stephanie: this paper is not the first to suggest that KV35YL is possibly Sitamun. Dr. Nicholas Reeves proposed it some 20+ years ago. His reasoning was that the 3 bodies in the side chamber might have come from the tomb of Amenhotep III. Given the fluctuations in the age of death estimates of the Amarna Period bodies and the fact that several recent examinations have been conducted by, or involved people who seem to have arrived at their conclusion before they had begun, it seems it is time for one more ( the last so the kings/queens and others may rest in peace), and hopefully conclusive, re-examination by neutral 3rd parties with impartial referees followed by immediate publication of the raw undoctored results: time and money permitting.

Marianne Luban said...

Yes, CJB--but that was long before the Younger Lady was ever suspected of [much less known as] being the mother of Tutankhamun! That changes a few things. The oriental males of long ago and not so long ago had their own idea of what age a woman could reach before she was considered "old". An Englishman of [I forget what century] wrote that a certain Indian mogul never went near any of his wives after they had turned 30 and neither did his nobles when it came to their own women. In the early 20th Century Indian girls were given as brides to men of any age at the disgusting age of 9. In the Egypt of the same time, 12 or 13 was not unusual and in prior centuries the absolute norm. The same for the Jews, even those who lived in the West.

Keeping this in mind, do you still wish to postulate a sister-wife for an Egyptian king who had likely left her early teens far behind by Year 12 of Akhenaten--much less by the time Smenkhkare came along? The writer of the paper of the PDF that is the subject of this thread mitigated all that by being certain that Tut was the child of Sitamun by Amenhotep III when she was younger, but that works out neither mathematically or DNA-wise.
How can Tutankhamun have been such a little chap of a king as he appears in that Met head portrait and have been born while A III was still alive? There is nothing to support THAT long of a co-regency with Akhenaten!

All this talk of age at death reminds me of the so-called "problem" of the Elder Lady being Queen Tiye. Wente, Harris et all had judged her to be about 35 when she died, although historically that was hardly likely. Before that some professor anatomy who doubtless knew his stuff when it came to the human physique but couldn't even tell when a lady's hair was dyed pronounced the mummy "had no gray hair"! Then some German Egyptologist entered the debate long enough to say how unlikely it was for a woman with blood type O to be the daughter of two people with type A2. Odds were not high. Last but not least another woman claimed the Elder lady was the spitting image of Nefertiti--and so must have been this queen. Yet--voila--here is the Elder Lady mixing her DNA with Amenhotep III in the case of not one but both parents of Tutankhamun. Problem vanished.

Marianne Luban said...

Oh--and I neglected to add this: One or the other of the foreign microbiologists was quoted as having said that a committee [Egyptian parliament?] would have to decide if the haplotypes of the ancient Egyptian royals could be released to the world! It is your haplotype included in y and mt DNA that gives the clue from whence your ancestors originated. In other words, politics and national chauvanism controlling science. God forbid it should become known that any king of Egypt should have foreign ancestry when for thousands of years now Egypt has been a melting pot for several reasons. Is Egypt ready for democracy? Is it ready for advamced science? I leave you to form your own conclusions.

Kate Phizackerley said...

Somebody has kindly sent me a full translation which I will quote from when I have more time over the next couple of days. My impression is that this paper (and I must look up who wrote it so I credit them properly), combines papers from different dates and therefore misses that they might have been overtaken by new discoveries such as DNA.

For that reason I think the central findings are unsafe. However, there are some interesting ideas all the same such as the view that Nefertiti was unlikely to have suceeded Akhenaten if he had a male heir i.e. that Akhenaten -> Nefertiti -> Smenkhare is unlikely.

Kate Phizackerley said...

Spam comments removed. Apologies to everybody.

Marianne Luban said...

Kate, the DNA study is mentioned in the paper. In France they call it "ADN". As I said, I don't think the author quite understands the data, though.

Steve said...

Kate, I think the paper was written by Jacques Freu, at least according to the bibliography on this page.


Anonymous said...

This paper is proving to be something of a disappointment as there is either flawed or selective reasoning. A pity, but it has encouraged discussion.

With regard to Dr Nicholas Reeves' identification of KV35YL, the logic seems to be that if it is not Nefertiti, but it is a daughter of Amenhotep III and KV35OL, and if it is also a sister of KV55..... and mother of Tutankhamen... and if it is not Sitamen by reason of apparent age, then presumably it is one of her sisters. There are a lot of "ifs" in the line of reasoning.

The Amarna Period reminds me of the current Euro problems: just as one solution is reached, the problem takes on another form.

Anonymous said...

That`s why this period is also appropriately called the Amarna tarpits; the more you struggle to get out the deeper you sink :)

Anonymous said...

The Amarna Tarpits: very drole!
Is there any other period in any other nation's history in which a ruler or rulers deeds have been so effectively erased from the records?

Anonymous said...

I keep getting back to several scenario's but they all include Smenkhkare being kv55 and YL kv35 being his sister. Both would be younger children of A III and Queen Tiye and the parents of Tutankhamun. I cannot see Akhenaten being succeeded by a female pharaoh when he had sons. So the most likely theory is that he had no sons, but a brother and a nephew.

I find it unlikely that Meritaton would go from great royal wife at the end of her father's reign to pharaoh and than back to great royal wife as the wife of her uncle Smenkhkare. So if the female pharaoh succeeded Akhenaten than she must have been Nefertiti. She in turn was succeeded by her brother/son-in-law (and she was probably herself related to Queen Tiye).

Smenkhkare had as his great Royal wife Meritaton so the YL kv35 must have died before his succession.

He in turn was succeeded by his son Tutankhamun who had Anchesenamun as his great Royal wife. She could have been his cousin Anchesenpaäten or her daughter Anchesenpaäten tasherit (fathered by either Akhenaten or Smenkhkare).

Anonymous said...

Re Anon: Donald Redford's work on the Karnak Aten temples has highlighted that in one of them, the main officiant, assisted by a daughter, is Nefertiti. Akhnaton is absent from the reconstructions. This would seem to confirm an elevated status above that of a simple "Great Royal Wife", more akin to a co-ruler in the context of these structures. CJB

Marianne Luban said...

CJB--that would be the "Hwt bnbn", which was, indeed, built for Nefertiti and she is seen worshipping there with her eldest daughter. However, there she is depicted looking like any Great Royal Wife. It is later, at El Amarna, that Nefertiti is depicted in unusual ways that make it appear that she had a status beyond a GRW.

Anonymous said...

It is true that the inscriptions describe her as "She, the pure of hands, the great king's wife whom he loves, the mistress/lady of the two lands, Nefertiti", but Dr Redford's comment is worth quoting: ....."the identity of the celebrant, everywhere it is Nefertiti, the queen of Amenophis IV who raises offerings to the sun disc...... Amenophis IV is nowhere depicted in the decoration of these structures. Who was this lady who could dominate the repertoire the artists were obliged to work with, to the exclusion of her illustrious husband?" Although I have kept to the hout-bnbn, Dr Redford makes reference to the Nefertiti Colonnade from the
Gm-(t)-p-itn that was recovered during the clearances conducted by Lionel Chevrier. Again only she and a daughter are depicted on the reconstructed pillars.

Anonymous said...

An idea came to me from reading Dumas' novel of The Man in the Iron Mask. Unfortunately,I know very little about DNA testing, but is there any possibility that KV55 and KV35YL could not only be brother and sister but also twins? From what I remember of school biology (not my favourite science subject: I preferred physics and chemistry), fraternal twins are conceived at the same time but from different eggs and as a result of this, have, I assume, differing DNA. Is there any way of telling twins from what the testing of the 2 bodies has revealed?

Kate Phizackerley said...

Dear CJB
Probably not but let me think about it just in case.

Stephanie said...

I daresay there is no way to tell twins from ordinary siblings unless they are identical twins which is according to the DNA not the case.

Even if we could find out what would be the good of it? It would not have any conceivable impact as far as I can see and all we would learn would be that they were of exactly the same age.
Or do you have any particular idea in mind CJB?

Anonymous said...

Thanks Kate, it was only a passing though that I thought might be worth a few moments consideration.

Stephanie, you asked me what good might come from finding they were twins apart from that they were the same age (or shared the same birth date if I might phrase it differently).
I shall try to explain.
Premise 1 KV55 was aged 20-25 at death (using Joyce Filer's estimates).
Premise 2 KV35YL was 30-35 at death (using estimates from Joann Fletcher and others)
Premise 3 KV55 and KV35YL were the parents of Tutankhamen (accepting the recent DNA results.
Hypothesis based on KV55 and KV35YL being fraternal twins: KV35YL outlived her twin/husband/lover by 10 years. This would mean she lived on into the reign of her son and that he would nominally be in charge of her burial among other things. It could also mean that as King's Mother she might have played a role as regent. As I implied, this is but the germ of an idea that totally depends upon an unlikely hypothesis. Would it make any difference? Well, we would be that much nearer finding what happened.

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